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AAC F A M I L Y & F R I E N D S


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Above: The 1939 Hempstead County Courthouse, which has served its constituents for 80 years, stands a symbol of Hope’s historic drive to become the county seat. Below right: The building is a marvel of Art Deco architecture that features a raised detail around the front doors.


Preserving History Hempstead County is unique in that it still holds all three of its historic courthouses.


Story by Mark Christ s Photos byHolly Hope Arkansas Historic Preservation Program


outgrew the space available. It is somewhat amazing, then, that Hempstead County still holds all three of its historic county courthouses. Hempstead County was created before Arkansas even became a territory when the Missouri territorial legisla- ture carved Hempstead, Clark and Pulaski counties from Arkansas County in late 1818. Court was first held at the home of John English, about eight miles north of Wash- ington, but by 1825 it had moved to the small town on the Southwest Trail. For a decade, court met in a small


T 32


he history of Arkansas’ county courthouses is rife with tales of disastrous fires claiming the seats of government, or of older structures being replaced as the needs of the county


frame building that Tilman L. Patterson had built, but its size forced county officials to rent rooms from local businessmen any time a grand jury was held. In 1835, the decision was made to construct a new and larger court- house. Patterson


supervised the construction of a two-story, wood-frame building, which cost the county $1,850, plus $300 that went to William H.


COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2017


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